The Green Halloween Guide
Halloween can be a pretty wasteful holiday if you let it, but it doesn’t have to be! And you don’t have to give up the spooky good times to keep it green.
From costumes and candy to decorations and clean-up, there are lots of places where you can make more sustainable choices this Halloween. Of course, you don’t want your green routine to take the fun out of this spooky day. I think that one of the keys to getting folks on board with making eco-friendly life choices is showing that not only is it better for the planet, but it’s delicious and festive, too!
Whether you’re just going trick-or-treating or if you’re planning a full-on Halloween shindig, we’ve got you covered so that you can reduce your waste without cutting back on the fun!
Next>> Green Trick-or-Treating
Photo by Karen Lee
Planning to head out and collect candy? Instead of a boring plastic pumpkin, you and the kiddos can make your own candy-collecting bag out of recycled materials. Here are a couple of tutorials to get you going:
- Turn a thrifted pillowcase into a customized treat bag. You can make this even more fun by letting the kids embellish their bags with cut out spooky shapes. Either sew them on or attach with fabric glue.
- Make a recycled felt trick-or-treat bag. You can find Kunin recycled felt online – it’s made from plastic water and soda bottles that would have otherwise been landfill-bound!
- Transform an old tank top into a treat bag: turn the tank inside out, sew across the bottom to seal it up, flip it right side out again, and you’re ready to trick-or-treat! If the tank top is too long, you may want to cut the bottom down a bit before sewing, so it won’t drag on the ground.
- Use a basket. Thrift stores usually have pretty hefty stashes of baskets, which are perfect for collecting candy! If you want to get crafty, you and the kids can decorate your baskets to personalize them!
If you’re planning to stay in and hand out candy, you’ve got a great opportunity to make a positive impact. Instead of Hershey’s, which has strong ties to child slavery, or high fructose corn syrup-laden candies, give out treats with a conscience this year! Opt for fair trade chocolates and candies that are sweetened with real sugar. Your local co-op or health food store will have plenty of options, or you can find fair trade candy online. Just remember: a lot of parents will be wary about letting their little ones accept unwrapped candy, so you’ll want to go for “bite sized” treats, unless you want to give out full sized candy bars!
Next>> Eco-friendly Costumes
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by TheCulinaryGeek
Eco-Friendly Costume Ideas
Store-bought Halloween costumes are often far from green. Usually, they’re heavy on the plastic and polyester, and to keep the price down, they tend to involve sweatshop labor. This year, you can whip up your own DIY costumes, and you don’t even need sewing skills to do it!
- Got a little superhero in your life? Make him a simple, felt mask out of the Kunin recycled felt we mentioned on the previous page! You can complete the costume by pinning on a pillowcase “cape” and a felt superhero badge. Voila!
- For an easy witch costume, dress your little one in all black, give her a broom, and whip up a witch’s hat out of an old coat hanger.
- Grab a couple of cardboard boxes from the recycle bin, cut arm holes in one, eye holes in another, and decorate to make a quickie robot costume that you can recycle or compost when Halloween is over.
The key with an eco-friendly costume is to get creative! Hit up your local thrift store to find fun, second-hand elements. You can also look for costumes on sites like Freecycle or Craigslist, or arrange a costume swap with friends to reuse costumes from previous years.
Next>> Eco-Halloween Decor
Photo by Becky Striepe
If you’re throwing a Halloween shindig, you’re going to need some spooky-ooky decorations! Sure, you could head to the party store, but most of the supplies you find there are intended to be used once and tossed. They’re also often made from plastic and other not-so-eco materials. With a little bit of planning, you can whip up your own green Halloween decor that will last for more than just one holiday! Here are some decoration ideas to get you started:
- Spookify your tabletops with a Mummified Glass Candle Holders.
- Raid your fabric scrap bin and whip up some super simple, fabric bunting!
- Good old Jack-o-lanterns are an eco-friendly choice. When the party’s over, toss them into the compost bin.
- Go for natural decorations.
With just a bit of planning and a pinch of crafty know-how, you can make Halloween as green as it is spooky!
Photo by Karen Lee